Suspects in 'bath salts' drug case to enter pleas
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Two men charged as part of the nation's largest investigation of synthetic hallucinogens called "bath salts" have agreed to plead guilty next week in a West Virginia courtroom.
Jeremia Phillips and Derrick Calip, who worked at owner Jeff Paglia's two head shops in the mountain state called Hot Stuff and Cool Things, will enter pleas in Clarksburg on Nov. 5.
Mr. Paglia and his partner, John Skruck, a Texas strip-club owner, are awaiting trial.
Federal agents and police said customers had been lining up at the stores in Buckhannon and Clarksburg to buy bath salts, which induce psychosis. Bath salts were banned in October 2011, when the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration used its emergency power to prohibit their distribution for a year because the agency said the chemicals pose an immediate threat to public health.
In July, President Obama signed a law making them illegal.
The West Virginia case is based on a year-long investigation by DEA and IRS agents working with local police that culminated with a raid on Mr. Paglia's head shops last spring. Agents also seized 11 properties, several vehicles and $750,000 in cash.
First Published October 31, 2012 3:39 pm